Jeremiah 50 has the prophet now bringing God’s prophecy about Babylon out. It is about a larger region known as Chaldea and the great city of the area was Babylon. This is a word of judgment against the empire that God used to bring judgment upon Judah in Jeremiah’s day. They have moved from being an instrument of God, to the nation under His coming judgment. “For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away”. The Medes, who were part of the army of Cyrus, were located to the north.
While God’s judgment is happening to Babylon, His people are going to begin restoration. “they shall seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion….my people have been lost sheep”. Jeremiah connected the coming judgment upon Babylon to the restoration of Israel and Judah. They would return to God with repentance (continual weeping) and they would seek the Lord their God. They want to create an ongoing covenant with God as they returned to Him on His terms. God’s goodness and care comes to us based on His covenant with us.
Why do we need restoration and a covenant with God? Because just like the people of Jeremiah’s time – we are like lost sheep. Jeremiah calls out bad leadership as a root cause of the situation – “their shepherds have led them astray”. We have to be very careful that we don’t allow that to happen to us today as well. Even if their current sin was completely led by the shepherds of the day, sin is always personal and we can’t project blame on anyone else. Each of us make our own choices and will have to stand individually before a Holy God and be judged. Our role is to make sure we only follow those who lead us in godly ways.
Babylon was a mighty nation but God is going to completely destroy her. “She shall never again have people, nor be inhabited for all generations”. That’s the reality of how much God hates evil and sin. The destruction would come from the north at the hands of the Medes and Persians. They would be ruthless in their destruction and conquer the entire nation. God makes it clear there was no shepherd, no king, no leader who could stand against Him and His coming judgment. That was true then, and it is equally true for us today. God reigns – yesterday, today and forever!